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Monday, September 3, 2012

[Chateau de Chantilly] Le musée Condé - The generosity of a royal prince

 The main reason I wanted to stay in Maffliers was Chateau de Chantilly.
It is one of my favorite chateau especially because of the personal touches of Henri d'Orleans, the duc d'Aumale, born as 5th son of King Louis-Philippe of France.
The château that comprises two attached buildings is stunning. The Grand Château was destroyed during the French Revolution and rebuilt in the 1870s, and the Petit Château which was built around 1560 for Anne de Montmorency.
 The Domaine of Chantilly  overlooks the Great Stables which contains the Living Museum of the Horse. The grand buildings in the photo above are the "château" for the horses.
 The art gallery of the Chateau, a.k.a. the Le musée Condé, houses one of the finest collections of paintings in France that ranks only after the Louvre.
 The collections emphasizes French paintings of the 15th and 18th centuries.
 Raphael's "Madonna of Loreto" and "Three graces" are among the representative collections.
Les Deux Foscari of Eugène Delacroix
You might be interested in who Henri d'Orleans, the duc d'Aumale was.
I had already posted about the duke and his library.
 If you want to know more about the duke and his life with numerous tragic events and exiles.
 I was happy to get another chance to see this beautiful château full of finest paintings and
its amazing library, or Les cabinets des livres, of the Petit Château has over 1300 manuscripts and 12,500 printed volumes, including a Gutenberg Bible.
(But, it was not everything the château has possessed! I'll tell you later in this posting, about the château's hidden treasure)
 This is my ultimate dream 'cabinet de livres.'
It would be possible only if you inherited 200 million pounds that generated 20 million pounds a year. Of course, you should also have a sophiscated taste and apprecation for the old manuscripts and books.
While patriotic Mr. D brought kids to Vimy Ridge, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial located in Vimy, France, that is dedicated to the memory of Canadian Expeditionary Force members killed during the First World War, my friends and I went to Château de Chantilly.
 We started from the château's chapel.
The chapel was built in 1882 by the architect Honoré Daumet at the request of the Duc d'Aumale.
The chapel was built roughly where the original chapel had been standing before the French revolution.
The chapel was dedicated to the Saint Louis, i.e. Louis IX of France.

Commencing in the 13th century, the very catholic French sovereigns and blood princes had their hearts separated from the rest of the body at death. A ritual ceremony was set up to glorify the royal organ, which was a symbol of political power and the people’s religious fervor. The ritual of separating the heart at death reached its peak in the 17th century: luxurious cardiotaphs or heart tombs were created.
Typically, hearts were kept in heart urns.
In the centre of the chapel, the heart urn of the princes of the house of Condé. The last heart added was that of Louis d'Orléans, prince de Condé, who was the eldest son of the Duke of Aumale who died at the age of twenty-one in 1866.

When you come out of the chapel,
you are entering the main hall of the château.

The grand staircase at the centre feature gorgeous handrails.

Ironically, you are asked not to touch the railing. :(

Details of the railing decorations were just so beautiful.

Ceiling above the staircase.

By lunch time, We went down to have lunch at the restaurant in the château.
It was a lovely place with very high ceiling and antique atmosphere.
Actually, the dining hall of the restaurnat was an ancient kitchen of the château when it was lived by the princes of Condé and Henri d'Orléans, Duc d'Aumale.

Everything was nice. I even liked their table napkins.
My lunch~

Tarragon infused salmon “butterfly”, seasonal vegetables, Citrus crème Chantilly

It was heavenly.
But! It was somewhat pricey.

As my friends and their kids went to see exhibitions at the Great Stables while I continued my stroll at the Grand Apartements of the château.

I started from my favorite place in the entire château: Bibliothèque or library.
The library and archives of the Chantilly retain the rich collections of books and written documents collected over the centuries by the lords of Chantilly, family members of Montmorency and Bourbon-Condé, as well as those acquired by the Duc d'Aumale in the nineteenth century.
I was amazed all over again, by the duke's collections.
You encounter really amazing manuscripts.

 Then I moved on to the "Galerie des Cerfs" (the Stag Gallery)

As the hunting was a great hobby of the duke.
And you can feel it very lively in this gallery.
You might shiver as I did when you see stuffed animals or skulls of the deer.
The sculpture of the duc d'Aumale holding a rifle.
This hall was a huge reception hall where the duke held receptions.
Balcony was used by the orchestres at the receptions.
From here,
I'll show you the galeries and great chambers of the château with the names of the galleries/chambers.
 In 19th century, the château was heated by gas.
The prince's chamber
(Le chambre de M. Le prince)
Grand Cabinet d'Angle
Salon de Musique

Cabinet du Giotto
Salon d'Orleans
View of the château's beautiful garden from La Salle Isabelle
As I said above,
the housed art collections are one of the finest collections of paintings in France that ranks only after the Louvre.
Especially the collections feature numerous portraits of notable royal figures.
Louis XVI, the tragic king beheaded at Guillotine in 1793.
Marie-Antoinette, the fameuse wife of Louis XVI.
Louis XV.
(Personally, and as many people would agree, I think Louis XV was the most handsome monarch out of all French kings :))
Napoléon Bonaparte
Henri d'Orléans, Duc d'Aumale
Duke and Duchess of Aumale in their forties.
Not surprisingly, the chateau boasts extensive collections of fine chinas and finest silverwares.

The Duc d'Aumale's silverware collections were mainly composed of pieces bought from the maison Christofle which specialised in silver and gold plating.
Tableware collections at the Chambre d'Orleans.

Let me recover my breath now.
I'm not done yet.

(Coat of Arms: Henri d'Orleans)

After this free visit,
I paid additional 5 euros to join the guided tour of the "petits apartements", i.e. the private chambers of Duc & duchess d'Aumale.

The group was small. It was perfect for me who always has tons of questions.

I was very lucky since we had a very knowledgable guide who answered my questions so thoroughly.
Each of the rooms were decorated with the portraits and art pieces of the duke's close family members.

The bust of King Louis-Philippe, the father of the duc d'Aumale
The bed chamber of the duchess
The baby crib of the yougnest son of the duc & duchesse d'Aumale

I was shocked by the modernity of the blinders at the Duchess' chamber.

The boudoir(salon) of the Duchess, originally colored green was retightened with purple cloth embroidered with silver, after the death of the Duchess of Aumale in 1869, as the purple is the color of mourning.

A totally modern bathroom of the duchess.
The bathtub had hot and cold water tabs.

19th-century style bidet.

Duc d'Aumale bed chamber which was much simpler than the duchess's.
On the fireplace, there were medallions containing portraits in miniature and a lock of hair of the parents of the Duke of Aumale his father King Louis-Philippe, his mother Queen Marie-Amélie.
On the bed, two costumes summarize the different aspects of the personality of the Duke of Aumale: the right one is uniform of general and the left one is the green coat of member of the Institut de France(Académie française)

Deathmask of the Duc d'Aumale and the photo.
Most French royals have their deathmasks.  The mixture of wax or plaster was carefully placed over the death face and removed after the form had hardened.
That's how they could have cadaver tombs.
See my posting about French royal tombs I visited recently:
I am impressed over and over how French royal and aristocratic legacy and history were well passed over to today.
Salle de Marbre: The duke's personal dining room.
There was a souvenir of the duke's older brother: the death mask of the duc d'Orléans (1810-1842).
I'm not quite sure if I would ever like to have a death mask of my family or anybody else in my dining room.
Le Salon de Condé.
All the portraits of princes de  Condé were hung.
There also was a bust of the last prince of Condé, called the Duke of Bourbon (1756-1830), who bequeathed all his property and Chantilly to his godson, Henri d'Orléans, the Duc d'Aumale.
Then our private tour group came out of the private apartments of the Duke and the duchess.
Until then, I didn't know that there was the treasure of all the treasure of the château.
The surprise was the Bibliothèque du théâtre
The second library of the château was built for the duc d'Aumale in 1880 by architect Honoré Daumet. Its metal structure with two levels of galleries inspired by the architecture Henri Labrouste for stores of the National Library in Paris. The library was built on the site of a former private theater built in the early nineteenth century to the family of Bourbon-Condé, where the name of the library(Bibliothèque) came from.
The Musée Condé retains 2500 drawings and 2500 manuscripts. It is one of the largest cabinets of drawings in France, by the quality of its collections: Raphael, Michelangelo, Primaticcio, Parmesan, Jean and François Clouet, Nicolas Poussin, Claude Lorrain, Eustache Le Sueur, Watteau, Oudry, Boucher, Ingres, and  Delacroix.
The collections come out of this library for a couple of months maximum every 2-3 years.

I was totally astounded at the sight of the second library of the château.
It was a fantastic visit.

Sorry for a posting this long. :(
I didn't meant to make it this long.
But, I put my best efforts to minimize the number of photos.

 You can see more posts about my trip to France if you click the links below:

 Domaine de Chantilly - Le Musée Condé


  1. Sound like a fun trip you have there, Colleen! I didn't realize that Napoléon Bonaparte was such a handsome king. Oh ... I too found it ironic that you can walk on the stairs but mind the railing :-)

    1. Hi Angela,
      what a surprise!!! So nice to see you here. :)
      I concur with you. Napoléon was a fine looking emperor, only if you don't consider his height too short. He was 5'7". :)
      Thanks for your visit. I'm touched!!
      Have a nice evening~~

  2. Colleen, pics are amazing, look really romantic and wonderful.
    It must have been lovely and nice vacation for your family.
    I baked lemon poppy seed cake, by the way this was second time, it was really nice, so I want to say 'thanks to you'.
    U know, what a coincident, I will visit to Ottawa this month with my husband. I may not be able to have a chance to meet u, u were always my favorite blogger from when u were in Naver.

    1. Hi Chae-young,
      thanks for the compliments. I'm flattered.
      I am glad that you like my lemon poppy seed cake. I bake it at least half dozen times a year. It's very lemony, isn't it?
      Ottawa is a nice mid-size city, and happened to be the capital of Canada. Hope you have a great time here.
      Bon voyage! :)

  3. Thanks for ur kind answering!
    We will stay in Ottawa for a couple of day, do u mind if I ask you to recommend some places to see for sure in Ottawa?
    I'm sorry if I made you annoyed. :)

    1. Hi Chae-young,
      the following things are my personal preferences~ They are "must-see"s in my opinion:
      1. Parliament hill + Peace Tower
      2. Changing the guard
      3. Byward market
      and 4. Civilization museum
      You can refere to the official website for Ottawa Tourism:
      Have a nice stay!

  4. Thank you so much, Colleen!!
    We will visit those places for sure. :D
    Have a good day~